BBC One Orders Shannon Matthews Drama From Jeff Pope & Neil McKay

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BBC OneBBC One is teaming with ITV Studios’ Jeff Pope for his next factual drama

The BBC’s flagship channel, who just handed out a second season order to Poldark, has given the greenlight to The Moorside Project, a two-part drama about the supposed disappearance of Shannon Matthews which hails from An Appropriate Adult and Lucan executive producer Jeff Pope and Planespotting scribe Neil McKay.

The Moorside Project will reveal how a group of ordinary women brought the community together as one to try to find a child who had disappeared in their midst. The two-parter examines the spirit and determination of the women who led the local campaign to find Shannon, and the impact it had on them when the truth was revealed – namely that her disappearance was a sham and her mother knew where she was all along.

“At the time, the country held its breath when Shannon went missing. When she was found, the people of Moorside led the celebrations”, said ITV Studios’ Jeff Pope. “The committed and passionate search mounted by local people had seemed to sweep away all the clichés and prejudices about estates like Moorside. But when the truth about what had happened was revealed, the sense of betrayal and bitter recriminations that followed threatened to submerge the estate. This truthful, unvarnished drama will take us inside the eye of the storm.”

Neil McKay is penning the scripts for the two-part drama, which is set up at ITV Studios and is being executive produced by Jeff Pope. McKay will also executive produce. This marks the latest collaboration between the writer and ITV Studios Head of Factual Drama Jeff Pope who previously worked together on An Appropriate Adult. Production is expected to commence later this year, though the BBC said that casting has yet to begin.

“Drama has the ability to tackle sensitive subjects from different perspectives and consider the impact of a crime rather than the crime itself. This was an extraordinary story of our time that rocked a community and thrust it under the media spotlight”, added BBC One Controller Charlotte Moore. “As a nation, we only ever saw it from one perspective and I hope this drama will capture what it was like to be at the centre of that community – how they responded and lived through it. On BBC One it’s important to bring human stories to life and allow the audience to come to their own conclusions.”